Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Staying active is key to a happy older life, West Sussex County Council survey finds.

Eight out of 10 people say that keeping their minds and bodies active will ensure a healthier life in old age, according to the findings of West Sussex County Council’s Age with Confidence survey.

Among other findings, nine out of 10 people said ageing with confidence was as much about keeping a positive attitude and more than three quarters (77%) said that planning for a more financially secure and healthy future was “very important”.

However the survey also revealed people’s concerns as more than a third said they are worried about memory loss and dementia and a quarter are worried about physical health problems.

To help, West Sussex County Council and NHS Sussex have already set up a variety of support services for those with memory problems or their carers, including specialist day services for those with complex social care needs, dementia crisis teams and the shared care ward at Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath.

The survey ran from October last year to January 2012, receiving 1,060 responses, and contained people’s thoughts on their hopes and fears for the future as well as practical suggestions.

Seven out of 10 people (71%) claimed they felt younger than their actual age, while a quarter (25%) looked forward to the extra free time they would have when they retired.

Nearly a quarter of people suggested that more people should be encouraged through wellbeing hubs to take up physical or mental activities through tailored sports facilities or to take part in community activities when they are older.

A tenth (10.5%) called for more advice and support for independent living, such as stairlifts and for a greater range of community services to help older people to remain independent and socially engaged through the use of paid or voluntary helpers.

Peter Catchpole, Cabinet Member for Adults’ Services, said: “This survey has provided us with a greater insight into how our population view ageing and how they intend to plan for older age.

“The survey has shown us that people are aware of the importance of preparing financially for their old age. Through Carewise we are able to provide advice and information to help people make the right choice of care and support and find the right funding solution.

“We know people are worried about social isolation and that their skills are not best used when they have retired. We intend to help support people in the community to make the most of their later years.

The full survey can be found at: http://www.bmgsystems.co.uk/westsussex/UploadedFiles/Age%20With%20Confidence%20V1.2.pdf